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4 Computer Systems

The isolinear chip replaced the duotronic circuit in 2329, and remains a major component of Federation computer systems over forty five years later. The major advance which came with isolinear chips was the combination of storage and processing power into a single totally integrated unit. Adding memory to a computer therefore automatically added more processing power, making upgrading a much easier task. Small numbers of isolinear storage units are used in both PADDs and tricorders, while large computer systems can mount hundreds or even thousands of chips, all running as parallel processor units, to give enormous storage and processing capacity.

The main computer system of the Galaxy class Starship, as launched in the early 2360's, comprised three redundant computer cores. Each core was a ten story structure which had 2,048 dedicated storage modules containing 144 isolinear chips - a total of 294,912 chips per core. At 2.15 kiloquads per chip this gave a total storage capacity of 634,060.8 kiloquads per core, making the system one of the most powerful mobile computers in service. The Library Computer Access and Retrieval System user interface is widely used in Starfleet, and allows the core memory to be accessed at 4,600 kiloquads per second. Accessing the entire memory of a core can therefore be done in less than 2.5 minutes.

One development common to several users of isolinear technology is the use of symmetrical (and therefore non propulsive) subspace field encasement. Jacketing a computer system in such a field allows the chips to run at faster than light speeds, greatly increasing processing speed. The original Galaxy class computer could speed up operations by up to 335% using this method.

During the Borg war Starfleet shifted its focus from conventional computers to a bioneural system, however most ships still employ at least one isolinear computer core.
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4.1 Computer Core

The ACR-21 Bio-Neural Super-series computer core is built under contract for the Intimidator Refit-class vessel by Krayne Systems, an independent contractor based on Bynar. The structure of the computer is similar to that of most other supercomputing systems in use by Federation vessels with stack segments extending through the ship forming trillions of trillions of connections through the processing and storage abilities of modern isolinear chips. The core essentially consists of two independent processing systems that work in concert for maximum performance. Bio-neural-based processors throughout the core are utilized for complex calculations while an isolinear-based system is used for the storage and cataloging of core information. Cooling of the isolinear system is accomplished by a regenerative liquid helium loop, which has been refit to allow the usage of a delayed-venting heat storage unit for "Silent Running" operations that require the highest level of starship stealth. For most missions, requirements on the computer core rarely exceed 45-50% of a single core's processing and storage capacity. The rest of the core is utilized for various scientific, tactical, or intelligence gathering missions - or to backup data in the event of a damaged core.
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4.2 Secondary Core

The BNCS-225I was designed for the Intimidator Refit class by divisions of Kimira industries in cooperation with several other private contractors. The BNCS-225I represents a complete revolution in the way computing is carried out onboard starships. The Bionueral Computer system does not contain any conventional computer systems. The system is rather completely composed of a synthetic biological polymer using human brain cells as a template for high level storage and processor capacity. The BNCS-225I is a composite of Biological and Positronic elements working in tandem to perform over 6.25X10^57 calculations per second when functioning at an estimated full capacity. The BNCS-225I is designed to perform “Smart Computation” optimizing processor functions. This allows a smaller volume of “Processor” components to perform the same number of calculations, significantly reducing the size, power demands, and heat production of the Unit. The BNCS-225I has also been optimized to operate with Bioneural conduits. While Conventional computer systems require bulky, often cumbersome conversion systems to transfer from OPN to BNS the BNCS can link directly to the Bionueral conduit network, in effect turning the entire network into an extension of the computer. While the BNCS-225I is still in the trial phase of deployment, and must be supplemented by a standard Isolinear core, it is predicted to become the standard computer aboard federation starships by 2425.
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4.3 Bio neural circuitry

Bioneural gel packs were developed during the period before the dominion war in 2367. The system is not a replacement for the isolinear computer system, but is rather an augmentation of it. By distributing gel packs throughout a Starship's computer system information can be organized more efficiently, speeding up response time. Early use aboard the new Intrepid class starships proved reasonably successful, although the biological nature of the packs has led to problems such as infection. The packs are now being used as standard aboard all new Starship designs, as well as some support craft.

During the Borg war the Federation worked to develop more advanced bioneural systems to combat the ease at which the Borg could infiltrate conventional computer systems. Recent advances have lead to the development of the Bioneural conduit. This system allows for information to be transferred through artificial nerve cells rather than conventional isolinear systems. This conduit network is still in the early stages of development, and has only been deployed to a limited number of vessels including the Intimidator Refit Class. These systems allow the computer network to more effectively network operational functions, and slowly increase capacity over time.
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4.4 Automation Centers

In addition to two normal computer cores the Intimidator refit is equipped with several automation centers distributed throughout the ship. These centers play a duel role, they serve as both a computer back up, and as testing grounds for programs before full scale introduction into the ships computer. The automation center was conceived of during the Borg war by Benjamin Drake, however the design only came into use in late 2406. Currently all Intimidator Refit Classes, and nearly one third of the entire fleet is equipped with these systems.

If a ships computer systems are damaged beyond function it very often leads to the failure of key computer controlled systems such as the matter anti matter reaction, life support, and gravitational controls. The primary purpose of the automation center is to insure that in the event of total computer failure critical computer controlled systems will not simply shut down. Automation centers are smaller simpler computer systems which take up a very small area compared to the primary and secondary cores. Automation centers are designed to function in situations which would disable or destroy normal computer systems, providing a reliable emergency back up in almost any situation, and because automation centers are not centralized they cannot easily be targeted simultaneously. Should the Primary computer network be compromised, two automation centers are always kept detached from the primary computer network. The automation center can then be brought online while the main computer is whipped, and brought back online.

The secondary role of the automation center is to serve as a testing ground for new programs which could potentially hamper the function of a star ship. Automation centers can be removed from the centralized computer network. This prevents any program from causing undue influence outside of the Automation center. Despite the relatively limited capacity of the automation center when compared to the primary computer system, complex simulations can still be run when disconnected from the network.
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